Posts Tagged ‘Lakeith Stanfield’

A Reason to Kill For

Knives Out

Director: Rian Johnson

Cast: Daniel Craig, Ana de Armas, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Christopher Plummer, Michael Shannon, LaKeith Stanford, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Riki Lindhome, Edi Patterson, Frank Oz, Noah Segan, M. Emmet Walsh, Marlene Forte

Looper and Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson takes a delicious stab at the murder mystery genre in his quirky new film Knives Out featuring an all-star ensemble cast headed by Oscar winner Christopher Plummer (Beginners).

With an original screenplay by Rian Johnson, Knives Out centres on the mysterious death of crime writer Harlan Thrombey on the night of his 85th birthday at his sprawling estate in Massachusetts.

Thrombey expertly played with a sly viciousness by Plummer has his multi-generational family gather for his birthday which includes his daughter Linda Drysdale played by Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween, A Fish Called Wanda), his son-in-law Richard Drysdale played by Don Johnson (Django Unchained) and his son Walt Thrombey played with evil intent by Oscar nominee Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals, Revolutionary Road) and daughter-in-law Donna Thrombey played by Riki Lindhome.

Then there is the widow of the dead son, Joni Thrombey played by Toni Colette (Muriel’s Wedding, Madame) who is hanging onto the family for financial security.

Harlan Thrombey’s grandchildren is headed by the spoilt playboy apparent heir, aptly named Ransom Drysdale played by Chris Evans (Snowpiercer), followed by the sneaky granddaughter Meg Thrombey played by Australian actress Katherine Langford (Love Simon) and the nerdy youngest grandson Jacob Thrombey played by Jaeden Martell (St Vincent).

The two characters which really steal the show are the Southern detective Benoit Blanc played against type by Daniel Craig (Casino Royale, Logan Lucky, Snatch) and more significantly Harlan Thrombey’s devious yet devoted South American nurse Marta Cabrera played by rising Cuban star Ana de Armas (Blade Runner, Overdrive).

Knives Out is a classically original murder mystery expertly written and directed by Johnson who is clearly influenced by Agatha Christie and Alfred Hitchcock whereby every character has a reason to kill for.

As the plot unravels like an Egyptian cobra revealing several motives for killing the patriarch of this eccentric family is to claim from the his vast fortune and inherit the sprawling country estate.  

If audiences love a superb murder mystery filled with a fantastic ensemble cast and originally written to dazzle and surprise the viewer, then be sure to catch the quirky and murderous Knives Out. It’s vastly entertaining.

Knives Out gets a film rating 8 out of 10 and is strictly for lovers of a classic murder mystery in the vein of the Oscar winning Robert Altman film Gosford Park, while making subtle hints at the themes of patronage, inheritance and immigration.

Twisted Sisters

The Girl in the Spiders Web

Director: Fede Alvarez

Cast: Claire Foy, Sylvia Hoeks (Blade Runner 2049), Lakeith Stanfield (Get Out), Stephen Merchant (Logan), Vicky Krieps (Phantom Thread), Sverrir Gudnasson (Borg McEnroe)

For some reason I find Scandinavian films particularly dark and bleak. Maybe it’s their weather.

Director Fede Alvarez’s brutal retelling of Lisbeth Salander’s twisted family in The Girl in the Spiders Web is more like a female Bourne film than something as disturbing as the original 2011 English version film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo featuring an outstanding performance by Rooney Mara opposite Daniel Craig.

This time The Crown star Claire Foy fresh from her brilliant performance in Damien Chazelle’s First Man takes up the diverse role of Lisbeth Salander the tattooed hacker with a penchant for being one step ahead of her evil adversaries.

Blade Runner 2049 star Sylvia Hoeks plays Lisbeth’s malicious sister Camilla who trots around Stockholm in a fabulous red outfit and feels nothing for slitting people’s throats.

Swedish star Sverrir Gudnasson plays the young Mikael Blomkvist, the Millennium investigative journalist who comes to Lisbeth’s aid. Phantom Thread star Vicky Krieps plays a younger version of Erika Berger whose screen time is unfortunately severely limited.

The Girl in the Spider’s Web is not as palatable or exciting as the 2011 film or the excellent Swedish versions of the original trilogy although Claire Foy demonstrates her range as Lisbeth Salander and her unquestionable ability to play an action star.

The violence is ruthless, the plot slightly confusing especially for audiences that have not seen The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but this updated film gives a fresh crop of young European and British actors a chance to tackle a nefarious Swedish thriller.

The Girl in the Spiders Web is really held together by Claire Foy and an exceptional Sylvia Hoeks aided by a superb performance by Christopher Convery as child prodigy and code breaker August Balder.

Given the excellent cast, The Girl in the Spiders Web could have been so brilliant, but Uruguayan director Fede Alvarez doesn’t quite held the intricate thematic strands of this web together.

The Girl in the Spiders Web gets a film rating of 6 out of 10 and is recommended for those that enjoy a murky Swedish thriller, which ultimately lacks panache and passion.

 

 

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